Before the creation of Newton Medical Center's diabetes education program, patients in the community would have to drive to Wichita for treatment.Now, they can receive care right here in Newton through NMC's Diabetes Self-Management Program — a program recently awarded with re-accreditation by the American Diabetes Association."Ideally, it means we have a healthier community, as people learn to control their diabetes a little bit better," said Erin Boccia, a diabetes educator with NMC.The American Diabetes Association recognizes programs that meet certain standards of care, Boccia said. The NMC program started in 2008, and it was first accredited in 2009 after a period of study and data collection.Boccia said ADA accreditation is a valuable tool to help programs across the country make sure they are providing consistent levels of care."It's a way to make sure clinics and programs across the country are on the same page," she said. "... It's a way to let insurance providers know it is a recognized program. It's a good program, and it's not one they should feel hesitant about sending patients to."In order to be accredited by the ADA, programs must provide samples of what they are teaching patients to ensure the information is accurate. Patient charts are audited to see what kind of information is being documented, and program outcomes also are examined to verify patients are following proscribed treatment plans.The Newton program offers a variety of services, including group diabetes classes designed to help those who are newly diagnosed with the disease or others who may have the disease but don't know much about it. The classes teach patients about diet, exercise, managing medication, avoiding complications, and symptoms to watch for. The program also offers one-on-one counseling for patients and a monthly support group.Boccia said diabetes is a chronic disease that is mostly self-managed by the patient, and it's a good idea for patients to seek as much support as they can so they can live a healthy, enjoyable life."It's a frightening diagnosis, and we're able to help them out right away and get them started so they don't have to be as scared," Boccia said.To learn more about the center, call 804-6147.